The Never Normal

By Erwin Busselot, Business Innovation & Solutions Director, Graphic Communications Group Ricoh Europe

What happens when digital stops being special and becomes normal?

That is one of the questions my fellow Belgian Peter Hinssen asked when he spoke recently about his view of The Never Normal – a play on words of his The New Normal book written ten years ago.

The thought leader on innovation and digital transformation highlighted the pandemic’s role as an accelerator of the mainstream adoption of digital capabilities.

He cited consumer behaviour. The impact digital evolution had made on marketeers’ use of analysis, observation and prediction rapidly increased. And, as a result, is delivering elevated interaction and responsiveness.

After navigating the 2020 digital stress test, most companies are now looking to see what’s next.

Peter says the Never Normal future will be shaped by the following:

-Communication – Engagement with customers will be improved via both omnichannel, as well as consistent offline and online channels.

-Big Data – Harvesting and managing data is vital for every business not just large corporations such as Google and the Facebook.

-Mobile phone use –The world has become fully mobile and the time when interaction was only via desktops and laptops is well behind us.

-Cloud – Network storage that supports lean and agile start ups.

-Platforms – The rise in both technology and economic platforms.

-APIs – Application Programming Interfaces will be used more to connect communications and support offerings in a networked economy.

He warns the world is not orderly. However, this disorder creates the potential for disruptive thinking and in the next decade there will be even more digital disruption.

This is not something we have to fear. Every shock creates opportunities.

Operations need to reinvent to be more relevant in the face of profound and irreversible change.

We are therefore entering an exciting period where we can apply these disruptive patterns in a world of volatility that is the Never Normal. Fundamental to successful transformation, says Peter, is being bold on vision and flexible on details.

Helping enable this is Peter’s Coronavirus-inspired VACINE approach, an incorrectly spelled six letter word that stands for:

-Velocity – the world is moving faster so we have to adapt quicker.

-Agility – being responsive enough to use the power of change to your advantage.

-Creativity – involving everyone to explore ways to become more relevant.

-Innovation – considering the development of products, services and markets, and even reviewing the fundamental business model.

-Network – using the outside world as a network to move at speed.

-Experimentation – fostering an environment that encourages innovation and trying something new by lowering the cost of failure.

Is your operation responsive enough to embrace this approach?

Image credit: Matt Ridley / Unsplash